Sunday, October 6, 2013

Beware of a Martha Stewart Costume

Never, ever, look at a Martha Stewart DIY costume.  Or anything else she describes as easy, something anyone -- even you -- could just throw together.  

Because what she means is something so unbelievably intricate and complex that the glitterati of fashion, architecture and design would throw up their hands in abject despair, slit their wrists and wish that Madame Stewart meet her untimely demise in a hand carved wine barrel filled with King Cobras.  

But her projects, are so beautiful, so refined -- that you can’t help yourself. 

As soon as we saw the knight’s costume, we knew it was the one for his Halloween 2013 costume.  It was clean and elegant.  Homemade, yet not cheap.  It was shiny and had a sculpted look to it.  Project Runway Junior all the way. 

The road to Halloween is paved
with candy cups and tin foil.

My almost five-year-old son loved it. He was inspired by it.  I thought it was FABulous.  Anything else looked substandard and ho-hum in comparison.  

We would accept no substitutes.  

It was called “Knight and Dragon Costume” in a Martha Stewart feature called Grocery Getups.  To me, this implies ordinary items that you can get at a local supermarket, and at a mid to low end one, which in our area would be Jewel.  It also implies that this store would supply you with everything on your list.

I began to realize that she should have said Superstore Get Up, because office supplies and hardware store items like duck tape were clearly involved. Also specialty cooking items like toaster pans and mini-tart/pie tins.

Target, maybe, would have done the job.

Then I began to read the directions.  What the?  What was bias tape?  Where would I get that?  And how did an ordinary person, no make that a person who had real trouble cutting paper on a straight line, fashion tape into a U-shape?

It became apparent to me that Grocery Getup meant Large-Strip-Mall-Where-You-Can-Buy-Everything in the Fucking Universe Outfit.  

Just reading directions confused me; they sent me into a near panic. I could just see myself cutting hundreds of foil candy cups in half and my son and me trying to scotch tape them in orderly layered semicircles to create a breastplate of armor.  

And there I'd be, sweating, muttering strings of four-letter words worthy of an overcrowded prison dormitory, swigging from a vase full of wine and wondering why I didn't buy some perfectly good costume on Ebay like a mom with some sense.

The fact that there was an instructional video tells me that I wasn't the only one completely bumfuzzled by this knight’s costume. In the clip, Martha looks totally blasé about the whole thing, having outsourced the project to an attractive pregnant lady.  The video really helps because without it I might be waking up in a cold sweat about a child’s Halloween costume. 

Truthfully, it turns out to be a lot of painstaking work reminiscent of a sweatshop, but not DIFFICULT.

I've bought most of the stuff so we shall see.  And I promise to keep you posted.

But here’s the thing.  As I embark on yet another mini-relationship with the megalomaniac of the domestic arts I ask myself why?

Why am I doing this to myself? 

My son loves art and design and we try to encourage his ability and interest as much as possible. 

I, on the other hand, am a craft felon.  Many, if not most crafts I attempt look like I made them drunk and after a good face spraying with Mace.  

This is even more of a problem because my son and I are both perfectionists.  $%#@ Pinterest, we want our stuff at the Louvre!  

I swore I would not be the mom baking hundreds of perfect pink polka dotted cupcakes, with pink polka dotted icing to prove I am a badass model of competence and that I love my kids more than any mother before or since.

It seems, however, that I’m doing just that.

Part of it is I know how happy it would make him.  Another part is so that he can see the value of hard work and thrift – the value of making his own Halloween costume instead of buying it (even though this getup will probably cost more than the used costume I could have bought, but let’s not mention that).

Still, the other part is that Supermom thing, wanting to go above and beyond so that no one – NO ONE -- can criticize or doubt my parenting. EVER.  It’s buying stock in the Bank of Look At All I Do (For You.)

The first two are totally valid.

But the last one is troubling.

Good thing I’m making a knight in shining armor.  Maybe he can save me from myself.


  1. PLEASE vlog the assembly process. And God bless your sweet optimistic heart. You are a better mother than I, since our Halloween costume choices are whatever hand me down dress up clothes still fit.

  2. My kids let me get away with making their costumes for a couple of years. But the pull of the Pop Up Halloween Store was too strong. And my fingers are grateful. Good luck, lady. Seems like quite the project you've got here, and I can't wait to hear and see how it turns out!


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